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Hokes Bluff faces Cleburne County

Chase Beggs and the Eagles host Cleburne County tonight. (Photo by Nick Johnston | Gadsden Times)

The afterglow of Hokes Bluff’s dramatic 27-24 overtime win over rival Glencoe last week still looms.

And why not? After all, the Eagles had not defeated the Yellow Jackets since 2007. Plus, the victory was the first of the 2012 season for Hokes Bluff (1-4).

It would only make sense, then, that Eagles’ coach Mike Robertson continues to enjoy the accomplishment.

“It’s still a good feeling,” he said. “It was a great win for us, and hopefully it’ll give us some momentum.”

At the same time, Hokes Bluff still has half of a season of football left in Class 4A, Region 5, where the Eagles are 0-3. Robertson also understands how important it is for his team to focus on that, instead of last week’s victory.

“It’s hard to forget those kind (of feelings), but you have to,” he explained. “I told the guys that it’s the ame thing after a tough loss, you’ve got to get over it and go on to the next game. We’ve worked really hard and had some physical practices this week. We let them know that we haven’t gotten to this point, as far as improvement, without hard work.”

This week’s challenge comes tonight when Hokes Bluff hosts Cleburne County. The Tigers are two weeks removed from their 51-34 rivalry-game win over Cherokee County, and a 35-14 victory over St. Clair County last week gives them a two-game winning streak after beginning the season 0-3.

With both squads entering the game riding high, the performances of a few key players could decide the outcome.

The Eagles are led by quarterback Brad Robertson, son of the coach and hero of the Glencoe game. He scored four touchdowns (two passing, two rushing), including the game-winning 10-yard touchdown run in overtime.

Cleburne County will counter with running backs Trey Bolton, a junior, and Blake Turner, a senior, who give the Tigers a tough-to-defend duo in the backfield. Bolton rushed for 265 yards and four touchdowns in the win over the Warriors.

Toss in sophomore quarterback Brady Padgett, who also can run, and the Tigers likely will stay on the ground for much of the night. However, Padgett also is a threat to throw the ball, so Hokes Bluff will not be able to key solely on the run.

“We’re right back into the frying pan in this region,” Robertson said. “They (Cleburne) are very athletic. They’re big and strong. Their kids are very well-coached and they do things right. They don’t beat themselves. They’re faster than us and they’re bigger and stronger than us, so we’ve got to find a way, like we did last week.”

The Eagles still could fight their way into the fourth playoff spot in Region 5 if Hokes Bluff wins at least three of its final four games in region play.